Jobless, Clueless, Reckless (Revathi Suresh) – The Tale of a Barbie Murderer

Jobless, Clueless, Reckless. The story of Kavya, who acts like your average teenager –  angsty, miserable, lovestruck, whiny, and wanting nothing more than  to “scratch her life out and start over.” Since this is a story, our protagonist simply must be different from everyone else, and so Kavya will endures emotionally distant parents and a precocious brother, and can’t seem to make any friends. It doesn’t help that she is homeschooled, dresses in black and a reputation as a murderer of Barbies and, most probably, little kids as well. Oh, and her brother likes pink and cross-stitch, and wants to advertise the fact to the whole world, and her address is 708, Kansas, Grand Canyon, Bangalore, India.

Carnatic music-singer-slash-Party-queen Indu’s two lives, a friend who ‘disappeared’, and of course, dreamy greek god Kiran, are thrown together in a classic bad-boy-meets-emo tale of drama, love and mystery.

Cast:
Kavya – The fake emo with a secret
Indu – The salwar-kameez wearing wild partier, who also shoplifts
Lara – The backstabber with all the gossip
Dhrittiman – Cross-stitch kid who also loves pink
Abhi – Dumbalina

And of course,
Kiran – The non-Zac Efron, who’s also not a gentleman

Okay, I’ve overdone the mockery, but still, this book was disappointing to read. I expected this book to be more than just a cliche. I never knew what happened to Kavya’s mom, why her Kavya’s dad left, what was up with Dhrittiman (Kavya’s younger brother), and how come Niya and Lara pretended they were her friends?

While the book isn’t all that bad, the humour is just masterfully done. But saddens me to think that many who read this book have considered this an accurate representation of the lives that many teens lead.  I think I might be finding this a little distasteful because I prefer adventure/romance stories, and not just teenage romance. I found the extensive use of foul language for no reason unreasonable, pointless, and just plain annoying.

The tone I felt it was Kavya’s rant, and would have been better to read if it had a bit more emotion and confession, since she’s pouring her feelings out into a diary. I like the idea and flow of the events, and wished there was more story around each one.

And I would have liked to see Kavya tie up  or atleast face the many other areas of her life that we are introduced to …not just her love life.

For me , this book is something to read once  but if you like chick-flicks, this will be your soulmate!

 

 

 

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) – A Book to KILL for!

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins topped my reading list for the year 2016 with its unusual plot and twists where you least expect it. I am penning a single review  of the three books as a whole series, rather than individually…because  you will end up picking it up as set( I was gifted one too:)) and simply because you are unlikely to stop after one!

It’s set in the dystopian city of Panem, where the governing body or the ‘Capitol’ send two children, aged twelve or older, from each of the 12 districts, to their death in a game meant for their amusement, so they can sit and watch children scream in pain as they’re mauled, stabbed or shot by each other, while the Capitol eats roast turkey at the dinner table. Great conversation starter, right?

When Katniss is determined to come out alive along with her fellow tribute Peeta, things get a little bit dicey. They decide to play out an tragic ‘star-crossed lovers’ story, where they’re outright refusing to kill me each other due to their ‘undying’ love for each other. Sort of like, if the Capitol wants drama, we’ll give you drama!

And if there wasn’t a plot twist to a book like this, that would be doing injustice to this book (and this review). However, there isn’t just one plot twist, there’s two! These two major twists lead to the formation of a love triangle and multiple blackmail scenarios.
A perfect blend of suspense, creativity and romance, The Hunger Games had me hooked. This book had me practically screaming ‘Why, Peeta why?’ at his dramatic acts and squealing at Everlark moments. (In case you didn’t know, Everlark is the pairing of Katniss and Peeta.)
My favorite character has to be Katniss. Cliché, but true. Katniss is everything an independent warrior should be – rock strong, cunning, understanding, amazingly accurate aim, and a rebellious spirit. She changes drastically when thrown into the Hunger Games, from a girl concerned about her sister’s duck-tailed dress, to someone responsible for the rise of a rebellion. Katniss, has one weak point – the ones she cares about. In Mockingjay, when Peeta’s memories have been tampered with, he sees Katniss as someone evil, Katniss gets upset and tends to blow a fuse when people mention Peeta.
A thing I didn’t like? I’m not a big fan of romance. At some points in time, I can’t stand it, especially as it wiggles its way into every Young Adult novel . I know I said it was a perfect blend, but yet it keeps me from reading the book to its full potential. (Even while reading The House of Hades, part of my favorite series, I had to skim through the chapters set in either Percy or Annabeth’s point of view.)
Recommendations? I almost said Everyone must read it…The deaths and torture of the tributes are described in agonizing detail,  are certainly painful to read. Yet, I found the book simply amazing.(Creepy?) I bet you’ll be hooked until the end of Mockingjay. However, I would suggest the very young preteens to wait until they have a stomach for some pain.
It’s thought-provoking as the reality of the book weighs on you when you put it down. The book makes you ponder about authority, governments, freedom, sacrifice and love. Do the ends justify the means? In the end, can you be yourself  and not succumb to judgement in world where power, wealth , celebrity status rule? In short, can you be human in an inhumane situation…
My favourite quote from the book “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear”
Lastly, it has a -severely disappointing- movie. Please avoid. Whatever version you made up in your head about these while reading the  books, it will be 100 times better than this movie. I promise! There you have been warned.
Let the Games..errr..reading begin!

Wonder (R. J. Palacio) – Simply Wonderful!

Just yesterday, I read Wonder by Raquel J Palacio (which, by the way had to be wrested away from my mothers hands. Often happens in our home). And, boy, am I glad I did.

Yes,  I read it in one shot, although I had to put the book down for a few minutes in the middle, because it was so overwhelming.

Wonder is a heart-wrenching, emotional and -best of all-  very realistic story

It is the story of the fifth-grader August Pullman, who suffers from mandibulofacial dysostosis -which is a rare genetic malfunction which causes facial deformity.

As a middle schooler, I can make out the standard stereotypes of middle school..  the stares, the smirking, the mean glances and whispers,  the popular groups and the wannabees, the unnecessary hostility, misunderstandings with friends and those few true friends that make the journey easier. So with a face like August, it can be only a million times worse.

No, I’m not giving out any spoilers. At least, not without a warning.

My favorite part of the book is how R. J. Palacio gives us a peek into each pivotal character’s mind, letting us know how they think or feel about a particular situation. It’s riveting to know how other people think about the events going on which are all related to the main character, and not just hear what the main character thinks about them himself. It brings in a wonderful rounded perspective to the book and its characters!

My favorite character is definitely Via, August’s older sister. Via, or Olivia, treasures her younger brother as it is prominent in many incidents where she gets mad when other people whisper or stare at August. Yet there are moments when she just wants to NOT be his sister.Her chapter in this book deals with her growing self-consciousness and worries about her identity. I think I find Via among my favorites because I identify with her struggles and worries that I will only be known for my brother and his trouble-causing nature.

Minor issue? I haven’t watched Star WarsDarth Sideous and Bobba Fett jokes don’t register with me. Even though it was explained, I still had to go to my brother for a second-time explanation. It’s not all bad though, because it’s time for a movie marathon!

The big problem? August can have a happy ending but seemed too nice to me.Since when has middle school ever been nice? Do bullies even change? Do the other who choose being “safe and neutral” rather than stand up for the  kid that is singled out actually have the courage to take a stand. There are some answers I will only know when I’m more mature…may be

But being inspired by August’s positively inspiring upbeat attitude, it makes me want to believe “The universe takes care of all its birds.”

More Quotes I liked..

I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
…wish  I could orchestrate that.
“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”
…by far the most important thing that lingers after you read this book
“If you can get through middle school without hurting anyone’s feelings, that’s really cool beans.
… same thing ..cool beans!
“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”
….made me think how much we make assumptions based on looks.
So yes, please do do read this book!!
Most Important: I heard Wonder is being made into a movie this year! All those who haven’t read it, your time is running out. Every voracious reader knows this, but I’ll say it again – Never judge a book by it’s movie!